Journal of General Internal Medicine

, Volume 19, Issue 9, pp 952–961 | Cite as

Geographic methods for understanding and responding to disparities in mammography use in Toronto, Canada

  • Richard Henry Glazier
  • Maria Isabella Creatore
  • Piotr Gozdyra
  • Flora I. Matheson
  • Leah S. Steele
  • Eleanor Boyle
  • Rahim Moineddin
Populations At Risk


OBJECTIVE: To use spatial and epidemiologic analyses to understand disparities in mammaography use and to formulate interventions to increase its uptake in low-income, high-recent immigration areas in Toronto, Canada.

DESIGN: We compared mammography rates in four income-immigration census tract groups. Data were obtained from the 1996 Canadian census and 2000 physician billing claims. Risk ratios, linear regression, multilayer maps, and spatial analysis were used to examine utilization by area for women age 45 to 64 years.

SETTING: Residential population of inner city Toronto, Canada, with a 1996 population of 780,000.

PARTICIPANTS: Women age 45 to 64 residing in Toronto’s inner city in the year 2000.

MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: Among 113,762 women age 45 to 64, 27,435 (24%) had received a mammogram during 2000 and 91,542 (80%) had seen a physician. Only 21% of women had a mammogram in the least advantaged group (low income-high immigration), compared with 27% in the most advantaged group (high income-low immigration) (risk ratio, 0.79; 95% confidence interval, 0.75 to 0.84). Multilayer maps demonstrated a low income-high immigration band running through Toronto’s inner city and low mammography rates within that band. There was substantial geographic clustering of study variables.

CONCLUSIONS: We found marked variation in mammography rates by area, with the lowest rates associated with low income and high immigration. Spatial patterns identified areas with low mammography and low physician visit rates appropriate for outreach and public education interventions. We also identified areas with low mammography and high physician visit rates appropriate for interventions targeted at physicians.

Key words

mammography socioeconomic factors emigration and immigration preventive health services geography 


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Copyright information

© Society of General Internal Medicine 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard Henry Glazier
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • Maria Isabella Creatore
    • 1
  • Piotr Gozdyra
    • 1
  • Flora I. Matheson
    • 1
  • Leah S. Steele
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Eleanor Boyle
    • 1
    • 2
  • Rahim Moineddin
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Inner City Health Research UnitSt. Michael’s HospitalTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Department of Family and Community MedicineSt. Michael’s HospitalUSA
  3. 3.Department of Family and Community MedicineUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  4. 4.Department of Public Health SciencesUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  5. 5.Institute for Clinical Evaluative SciencesTorontoCanada

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